Spotify Microsite Calls Out Apple in a Communications Win

Mar 19, 2019

Last week, the Sweden-based music streaming pioneer launched a coordinated communications attack against Apple. Spotify claims that the tech giant imposes unfair, competition-limiting fees on mobile app makers selling subscriptions through the Apple App Store. It also blamed Apple for delaying the release of a fully functional Spotify Apple Watch app, a common gripe among the device’s owners.

Spotify needs Apple’s cooperation to make the Spotify app available on Apple products (iPhones, iPads, HomePod, etc.). However, Spotify also represents the largest competitor to Apple’s own subscription-based streaming service, Apple Music, thus creating a conflict of interest.

Spotify’s Microsite Resonates

Spotify alleges Apple’s actions give it an unfair – and illegal – advantage. Spotify has filed an antitrust lawsuit in Europe. To support this message, Spotify created a microsite titled “Time to Play Fair.” It’s a smart piece of content marketing breaking down Apple’s practices over the years in a straightforward and compelling way. In includes a video, article, letter from the CEO and a timeline breaking down Apple’s practices over the years in a straightforward, compelling way. The sleek web design and friendly avatars portray Spotify as the little guy trying to do what’s right against Apple — the big bad villain.

The allegations and the microsite were enough to garner national media coverage, and the customer-focused message got the attention of consumers around the globe. Overnight, Spotify started a conversation about Apple’s cooperation (or lack thereof) with app developers. Senators are even chiming in.

Apple’s Response Falls a Little Flat

Apple responded the following day with a blog post refuting Spotify’s claims, but most of the damage had already been done. Apple’s blog post simply didn’t have the same impact as Spotify’s compelling, easy-to-understand messaging attack.

By punching first with a visual, user-friendly website and digestible message, Spotify set the tone and took control of the narrative. While the war is far from over, Spotify won this battle by articulating its position to customers and using the media to its advantage.

Long Story Short: While battles between competitors are typically best avoided entirely, companies should never underestimate the power of positioning and controlling the narrative. When it comes to breaking down complex information for customers, brands will find the most success in simplicity.


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